Match Report: Tottenham 0-0 Stoke
TOTTENHAM 0 STOKE CITY 0
By Mike Baggaley at White Hart Lane.
Stoke stretched their unbeaten run in the Premier League to eight games with a goalless draw at Tottenham this afternoon.
City threatened in an even first-half but were forced on to the back foot for most of the second as they were made to work for their ninth clean sheet of the season. Captain Ryan Shawcross produced a tremendous performance in central defence to further his England claims against a Champions League chasing side.
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Spurs struggled to create clear-cut chances, but thought they had scored in the 90th-minute before Asmir Begovic made a flying save to keep out Gylfi Sigurdsson's header.
In a competitive, occasionally fractious contest, Jan Vertonghen and Sandro were booked for Spurs while Geoff Cameron, Andy Wilkinson, Steven Nzonzi, Dean Whitehead and Jon Walters were all yellow carded for Stoke.
Charlie Adam was missing from the Stoke side following the death of his father this week.
Tony Pulis recalled Ryan Shotton and played him on the right of midfield in a 4-4-1-1 line up. Geoff Cameron played at right back with Andy Wilkinson on the left as Jon Walters supported lone striker Kenwyne Jones.
Jones had a great chance within the first minute after intercepting a loose pass. However, he was off-balance as he fired over from just inside the area. But City remained a threat and went close when Jones broke into the right of the area, but saw his shot pushed away by Hugo Lloris.
Spurs came back into the game and Stoke hearts were in mouths when Jan Vertonghen's cross flashed across the face of goal. City were keeping Gareth Bale fairly quiet, but the Wales wide man did threaten on the half-hour when he cut inside only for his shot to be deflected over by Shawcross.
Mousa Dembele and Jermain Defoe tried their luck with long-range efforts but a frustrated Spurs couldn't get behind the City defence.
Half Time. Tottenham 0-0 Stoke.
Defoe sent a 25-yard shot flashing just wide as Tottenham started the second half brightly, but they suffered more frustration when Bale headed over at the back post from Aaron Lennon's cross.
Stoke threatened when Cameron broke down the right and sent a low cross in for Shotton. However, he mis-hit his shot straight to the relieved Lloris.
City were fighting a largely rearguard effort so Tony Pulis brought on Dean Whitehead, Cameron Jerome and Peter Crouch for Shotton, Jones and Etherington to give the team fresh legs.
But Spurs remained on top, only to see their attacks continually repelled by the stubborn Stoke defence.
Begovic hadn't had to make a difficult save all game, but sprang into action when he was needed just as the game was about to enter four minutes of injury time. Sigurdsson headed across goal, but Begovic flung himself low to his right to palm the ball away and ensure City came away with a hard-earned point.
Tottenham: Lloris, Vertonghen, Dawson, Walker, Caulker, Lennon (Sigurdsson, 78), Bale, Dembele (Parker, 85), Sandro, Adebayor, Defoe. Subs: Friedel, Gallas, Naughton, Livermore, Townsend.
Stoke City: Begovic, Cameron, Huth, Shawcross, Wilkinson, Shotton (Whitehead, 64) Whelan, Nzonzi, Etherington (Crouch 69), Walters, Jones (Jerome, 66). Subs: Sorensen, Upson, Palacios, Kightly.
Referee: Lee Mason. A